Posts Tagged teen marijuana addiction
Teenagers should be aware of the possible psychological effects of using marijuana. Recent studies have shown that marijuana users, especially teens, could develop schizophrenia or psychosis with continued use of the drug.
In a study conducted with nearly 2,000 teenager participants, those who smoked marijuana at least five times were twice as likely to develop psychosis in the next ten years or when they become young adults compared to those who did not use weed at all.
Psychosis is the condition when a person develops a pattern of unusual mental activities, such as believing in and talking to inanimate objects. Schizophrenia is a form of psychotic disorder which leads to loss of emotional expression and proper brain functions.
The risks become higher for teens who have parents or siblings who are already affected with schizophrenia or other psychotic problems. A normal teen with a family history of the psychotic disorder has a one out of ten chance of developing the condition as well. Teens who take marijuana dramatically double this rate.
To better illustrate the impact of pot on teens unaffected by psychosis or other mental disorders, chances of developing the mental abnormality is at 7 to 1,000. Smoking pot on a regular basis increases the risks making it 14 to 1,000.
In a study published in the Harvard Health Publication, studies on the effects of marijuana clearly has a long way to go. For instance, researchers may be able to account the active ingredient in pot, THC, as a factor which initiates chemical reactions in a user’s brain allowing the drug to have psychological and physical effects. Yet there isn’t a crystal clear explanation on how marijuana could lead a teen to be psychotic or schizophrenic later on in life.
A new survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse together with the University of Michigan has indicated that for the last four years, marijuana use has continued to rise among teens in the United States.
Results of the survey also include the fact that marijuana use among seniors has reached an all-time high at 6.6% in the last 30 years. Teens seem to disregard the dangers of marijuana abuse that even students in the 10th and 12th grades also register alarming figures as far as marijuana use is concerned.
The survey is one of the most credible indicators of substance abuse among teens in the nation.
According to psychiatrist Karl Benzio M.D., pot smoking has become so rampant that it’s almost like smoking cigarettes for teens. “Pot has become nearly as accepted as cigarette smoking in our society, and the dangers of it are grossly underestimated, especially for young people. As high schoolers smoke more pot, they are drawn to other drugs — drugs with devastating effects.”
Dr. Benzio is also the executive director of the Lighthouse Network which offers programs for addiction and mental health recovery with a 24-hour helpline and counseling for troubled individuals.
Other alarming findings of the study include a recorded 50% of high school seniors admit to use of illicit drugs at one point in their lives. There are also 40% of the same population who admit to use of more than one type of drug in the past year, and in the last month, 25% of the students claimed use of illicit drugs.
The study dubbed as the “Monitoring the Future” survey also recorded an increase in the use of synthetic marijuana products such as K2 and Spice as well as Ecstasy drugs which all have fatal effects on users.
While it may be true that alcohol and tobacco use among young people have decreased over the years, it seems a different case when it comes to teen marijuana use.
Parents often refuse to acknowledge what is happening to their kids until everything becomes too late. This is because parents and kids feel uncomfortable discussing marijuana and other drug abuse issues. Yet in keeping kids away from pot and other drugs, parents are key factors as they serve as their children’s role models and source of information.
Here are some suggestions as to how parents can keep teens safe and in a healthy environment:
1. The talk about drugs should start early and should be consistent through the years. Remember to include issues like addictions, impaired driving skill and learning capabilities, and other risky behaviors associated with drug use. Cooperate with your child’s school on the matter as they can very well influence your child on his decision making.
2. Parents should serve as role models, so if you are a pot smoker, you must cut the habit immediately and without hesitation.
3. If you have experiences on pot use or other types of drug abuse, be honest and tell your kids you’ve done it. It’s the best way for you to share the destructive effects of your past habits and it will no doubt have a great impact on your kids.
4. Make sure you know your child’s activities without invading their right to privacy. Give concrete guidelines to them when it comes to drinking and drugs and at least ensure that adults are present during teen parties or gatherings.
5. Kids should be able to approach parents when they are in doubt of anything related to substance abuse. As parents, you should be the first persons kids run to when they need proper education and correct information on the subject matter. In short, communication lines should be kept open between you and your children at all times.